If you want to take in some culture this summer, sit out in a café in a lovely piazza watching the world go by and then dine in a local restaurant on local specialities there are plenty of options that will allow you to do so far away from the mass tourism that can swamp some of Europe’s most famous cities. Why not look into visiting one (or several) of the following options:
Sitting on the river Garonne, Bordeaux sits at the heart of one of the most famous growing regions in the world. A visit to a vineyard is easy to arrange and well worth the time but the city has so much more to offer the traveller, with its history, food, districts, and the quays.
Santiago de Compostela, Spain
This world-famous pilgrimage city is the capital of Galicia and located in the north-west of Spain. Avoid the main religious festivals and you will find a historic centre that is one of the most atmospheric and elegant in Spain, with churches, monasteries churches and palaces all vying for space.
This lovely, little town in the Northeast of England boasts a magnificent cathedral perched high above a meander in the River Wear. A castle and houses packed in around small meandering streets make it a lively place to stay. Throw in the wonderful scenery that surrounds it and you have a great, undiscovered destination.
Most visitors to Tuscany visit Florence or Pisa, but very few get to one of the best cities in the province, that of Lucca. Situated north of Pisa in the Apennine foothills the town is still surrounded by magnificent defensive walls built in the 14th century when the Italian City states were fighting for dominance. They are now a park, their wide top planted with trees and grass and full of locals using it as a running and cycling route. Inside the walls life goes on as it has for centuries, elegant shopping streets opening onto timeless squares. Go.
This small, walled town on the Atlantic coast of Morocco was discovered by travellers in the ‘60’s. with visitors like Jimi Hendrix coming out to chill in this sleepy backwater. It hasn’t changed a whole lot, with the medina still a warren of alleys, old riads available to hire but still traditionally furnishes, many with amazing views from roof terraces out over the rolling waves of the Atlantic. Visit the small harbour in the morning as the fishing boats return with their catch and enjoy the fish char-cooked over charcoal as a delicious lunch in the main square.
Located by the sea on the Istrian peninsula, Pula’s history is long and varied, primarily because of the strategic position it held. The Romans had a thriving city here, testified to by the amazing amphitheatre that still exists and must be visited. Over the centuries it’s been conquered by the Goths, Venetians and several other empires and invading armies, all adding their character to the city. The old town is a great place to catch a coffee or beer, or a Croatian wine many of which are produced in the area.
There are thousands of wonderful destinations across Europe and the World just waiting to be visited and enjoyed. Leave the busiest and best known destinations like Rome and Barcelona for the quiet times out of high season and use Google maps to zoom in on countries you’d like to visit, research the accommodation online and head off on your own, authentic, city experience.